On Thursday, a deadly new chapter opened at the Kabul Airport. A suicide bomber detonated an explosion that tore through a crowd waiting at an entrance to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. A few moments later, another explosion struck a nearby hotel.
In the twin explosions, civilians and US service members were among the casualties. Around 13 US service members were declared dead and 20 civilians lost their lives. However, a health official of the previous government said the death toll is at least 85.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “A suicide bomber walked into the middle of families waiting outside the gate before carrying out the attack”.
He told BBC: “We think it was a suicide vest and a smaller device. The individual got to the perimeter we had pushed out the day before in response to that threat.
Reports say some victims were blown into a sewage canal where Afghans were waiting to be processed.
Highlights of the incident:
President Joe Biden has vowed to “hunt” down the terrorists. Additionally, he said, he would make them “pay” for the deadly attacks outside the Kabul airport because of which innocent lives have been lost.
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive nor forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command,” Biden told reporters at the White House on Thursday.
“There is no evidence thus far that I’ve been given as a consequence by any of the commanders in the field that there has been collusion between the Taliban and ISIS in carrying out what happened today,” Biden said in an address at the White House.
The western allies led by the US had earlier in the day, urged Afghans to leave the area. Citizens were asked to avoid the airport and airport gates, citing specific and credible threats. In a security advisory, the embassy said: “US citizens who are at the Abbey gate, East gate, North gate or the New Ministry of Interior gate now should leave immediately.”
The explosion comes at a time when evacuations are being carried out by several countries. President Joe Biden has said that the US intends to complete its pullout from Afghanistan by August 31. To date, around 90,000 Afghans and foreigners have fled Afghanistan. They escaped via a US-led airlift since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15.